"New Device an Option to Replace Blood Thinners"
Margaret Cienki is one of at least three million Americans with atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart beat. "As the top chamber is not beating properly, blood is not flowing, moving quite normally. There's a blind pouch in the top chamber called the left atrial appendage. This appendage is an area where blood can swirl and basically clot," explains Vivek Reddy, MD, Cardiac-Electrophysiology Director at The Mount Sinai Hospital. That clot could then potentially lead to a stroke. Then Cienki fell, causing internal bleeding. The drugs she was taking prevented her body from quickly stemming the flow. So her doctors at The Mount Sinai Hospital decided to insert a new device, called the Watchman, into her heart to plug up the problem chamber. "You can think of it like an umbrella that sits at the mouth of the appendage and sort of closes off that blind pouch. So that any clot that's inside can't travel through the blood circulation go to the brain and cause a stroke," says Dr. Reddy. Reddy was the lead investigator in the clinical trials for the Watchman. Cienki was the first person to receive it in the eastern U.S. after it won FDA approval. Learn more.